Now that spring has arrived, so has the moment to put on your hiking shoes and head for Haspengouw. Haspengouw is a region which spreads over five provinces (Limburg, Namur, Liege and Flemish and Wallonian Brabant) and is known as the fruit orchard of Belgium. The area is sprinkled with apple, pear and cherry orchards which should be in full bloom this time of year, so what better time to visit Haspengouw than right now.
Since the fruit industry is so important to the region, there are lots of activities going on these days. In April for instance, every Wednessday, you can participate in a guided nocturnal walk through the orchards. Also, fruit farmers invite you to visit their farm and offer a view behind the scenes of what they do and how they do it. There are exhibitions, markets, concerts… you’ll be hard pressed not to find something of interest to you. For a complete list of everything going on (Dutch only), you can click here.
The highlight of the festivities is the so called Blossom Ordination which, this year, takes place on April 22nd for the 62nd year! There will be a concert and service in the church of Guvelingen (Sint Truiden), and it is an excellent start for a perfectly nice day in the country side. Just don’t expect to be the only one there though! For more info on the ordination, you can visit the website of Sint Truiden The site also offers walking, cycling and driving routes through the area (at 2 euros each).
Apart from the orchards, Haspengouw has a lot more to offer and is in fact worth visiting the whole year round. Since it’s located at the foot of the Ardennes, it’s not as flat as the rest of Flanders, but not as hilly (or should I say mountainous) as the Ardennes. It makes for pleasant walking or cycling and enjoying stunning views wherever you go.
Furthermore, the area is also dotted with castles, churches and abbeys, so if blossoming trees are not your thing, you will still find lots of interesting sites. Most castles are private property and not open to the public, but some do allow you to walk around on the grounds. And since this is Belgium, some are turned into restaurants or café’s.